While it nets its participants no points in the world ranking, tennis stars flock to this championship. They include Serbian player Novak Djokovic, who beat Roger Federer in London in November, Olympic gold medal winner Andy Murray, who is now being coached by Ivan Lendl, number 5 ranked Spanish player David Ferrer, and Serbian player Janko Tipsarevich (ranked 9th in the world).
From Spain, Nicolas Almagro (ranked 11th) replaces Rafael Nadal, who has been off the courts for six months on a knee injury, and will miss out on the Abu Dhabi championship due to the flu. Federer is in Dubai, to train for the Australian season.
Mubadala organizers over the years have worked to involve local tennis schools in the championship, whose glass trophy is the brainchild of design competition winner Fayza al-Mashjari, an interior design student at Zayed University. The trophy's design ''is inspired by the energy and movement on the streets of Abu Dhabi,'' Mashjari explained to the competition judges.